That was the description of what Washington is likely to be like next year as designers, pundits and social observers rushed Wednesday to define the Barack Obama Era in American politics even before it began. And one thing was clear: the reign of the 44th President-elect won’t be a New Camelot. Instead, he and his young family will bring their own youthful, low-key style to the White House.
Beyond the challenges the President-elect faces — from the economy to trade, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to energy — there was also a sense the Obamas are bringing a much-needed breath of fresh air to the nation’s capital — socially, culturally and stylistically. The socially downbeat years of the Bush administration may be replaced by a more open, upbeat White House, while the fashion industry was salivating at the prospect of having a First Couple who delight in nice clothes and wear them well.
“She will ignite the fashion industry,” Elie Tahari said simply of Michelle Obama. “She is young, pretty, smart and well put together. These are a lot of great qualities.”
Added Donna Karan: “We expect a role model. She is a mother, a wife. She has all the attributes that matter.”
The President-elect was said to be getting right down to business putting together his transition team and crafting his cabinet and key advisers. This includes the imminent naming of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D., Ill.), a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, as his chief of staff. Many former Clinton administration officials are expected to be part of Obama’s team, although political observers said he is committed to having a diverse, bipartisan group that will bring a fresh face to Washington.
The fashion industry was particularly interested in who would fill key trade and economic slots overseeing billions of dollars worth of trade and global commerce. Obama stressed a new approach to trade on the campaign trail, saying he would hold China accountable for unfair trade practices and promising to employ new environmental and labor standards in trading pacts.
Those inside and outside the fashion industry felt beyond Obama’s stance on the issues, which rang true with voters, his image as a new American president that can bring leadership to the country and lift the nation’s standing around the world were what made his candidacy so appealing. European leaders and newspapers reveled in Obama’s victory as marking a new relationship with the U.S. “Mister President” was the title of Le Monde’s 12-page supplement that included a photo journey of Obama’s road to achieve what the intellectual daily called a “Democratic tidal wave.” It also included a story devoted to Michelle Obama, “the youngest first lady since Jackie Kennedy.”
Here, a look at the next administration — from who might be in the President-elect’s cabinet to the international reaction to the election of the first African-American president in U.S. history and what the style of the Obama White House might be.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion